See what innovation means for the economy on a state-by-state basis.

About States Innovate

American innovation is flourishing across the country thanks to thoughtful governors who work with the business community to create a strong business climate in their states. The Enterprising States study is about championing the successes of these governors. There is no limit to what innovative entrepreneurs can achieve in a strong business climate founded on sound policy. To highlight the most innovative and effective policies across the nation, this year’s edition of the study -- Enterprising States: States Innovate -- analyzes the 50 states through six lenses, ranking the top 10 in six distinct categories. Explore this study to find out which states excel...

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Economic Performance

Top-performing state economies are identified using a combination of general economic measures, covering growth, output, and quality of life. The “Economic Performance” category weighted measures include 10-year job growth, two-year job growth, income growth, livability, overall expansion of gross state product, productivity, and productivity growth.

Transportation and Trade

Connections to foreign and domestic markets are vitally important for a state’s economic well being. Throughout the nation, states looking to build their business presence in international markets are undertaking many policy actions, including infrastructure and transportation investment and building trade connections. Four equally weighted metrics determine the top states for transportation and trade, including export intensity, growth in gross manufactured exports, road quality, and share of structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The importance of fostering and supporting entrepreneurs is greater than ever. Building on and sustaining existing economic momentum remains a key means of responding to the challenges of fostering growth in an increasingly competitive global economy. Six equally weighted measures were used to identify the top technology and entrepreneurship states including academic research and development intensity, academic research and development growth, state investment in research and development, business birth rate, high-technology businesses as a share of all businesses, and the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.

Business Climate

A favorable business climate can contribute to making a state more enterprise friendly. Business climate policies/practices are comprised of four major categories, including government modernization, regulatory reform, tax reform, and tax credits and regulations. Six equally weighted metrics determine the top states for business climate, including small business lending rate, potential cost impact of legal reform, state fiscal condition, overall business tax climate, U.S. Small Business Policy Index, and cost of living.

Talent Pipeline

Business success is often directly tied to having a workforce with the right knowledge, skills, and abilities to help an entrepreneur put vision into action. Six equally weighted metrics determine the top states for talent pipeline, including higher education output, higher education system efficiency, college affordability, educational attainment, labor force utilization, and the rate of 11th and 12th graders scoring a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams.

High-Tech Performance

High-tech growth comes from industries extending from medicine, manufacturing, energy, and business services. Science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM)-related professions currently employ over 7.6 million workers and are expected to grow at twice the rate of overall job growth.The “High-Tech Performance” rankings include six equally-weighted state-level measures including growth of jobs in STEM occupations, concentration of STEM jobs, growth of jobs in high-tech industry sectors, concentration of high-tech jobs, penetration rate of high speed broadband service, and share of counties in a state with at least five high-speed broadband providers


Enterprising States is produced by Praxis Strategy Group on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The report compares states using 35 metrics that measure overall economic performance, and identifies the top ten states in six important policy areas for job growth and economic health. The six policy categories are Economic Performance, High-Tech Performance, Transportation and Trade, Talent Pipeline, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Business Climate. The metrics are selected to capture the breadth of each policy area as well as possible using the data that is readily available. Data for each measure were collected for each state and normalized on a 1-100 scale. States were ranked according to performance in each topic area, using a weighted index combining each set of metrics. In the Economic Performance category, metrics are weighted to favor job growth and income measures because employment and standard of living are the outcomes that define the rationale for state economic development efforts. Metrics in each of the other categories are equally weighted.